For a list of the other Gatorade State Cross Country Runner of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Mary Kate Vaughn
School: Oakwood (Dayton, Ohio)
Athletic achievement: She raced to the Division II individual state championship this past season with a time of 17:41.57. A 2012 first team All-State selection, Vaughn earned fourth place at the Nike Cross Nationals Midwest Regional championships, crossing the line in 18:08.8, qualifying for the NXN Final, where she earned 27th place in 20:21. She was also the fastest Ohio competitor at the Foot Locker Midwest Regional championships, finishing 15th with a time of 18:03.
Academic excellence: Vaughn has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A member of the National Junior Honor Society and a devoted parishioner in her church community, she has volunteered locally on behalf of the St. Vincent de Paul Society to benefit the needy.
“Mary Kate Vaughn is a truly gifted runner,” said Dan Lancianese, head coach at St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio). “It is amazing how impressive she is at such a young age. She has the mental fortitude to be even better than she is. She could be the best female distance runner to ever emerge from Ohio.”
THE FUTURE: Vaughn will begin her sophomore year of high school next fall.